How far would you go for clean water? For one recent Lakehead graduate, quite literally across the country.
Hasan Syed, a community bridge-builder active in Thunder Bay, has undertaken a cross-country run to raise awareness about the water crisis among First Nation’s communities in Canada.
Syed was shocked to learn about the conditions on some reserves, and thought Canada had moved beyond basic water access issues he witnessed in his native Pakistan. As of the end of February, there were more than 80 drinking water advisories in First Nations communities across the country.
"It literally took me back to the country I immigrated from. Like then there's no difference between here and there." said Syed to the CBC. Until then he had assumed the services he had access to were afforded to all Canadians.
Upon learning more he knew he had to take action and his faith played a crucial role. "I feel like there's like God saying, 'Okay, I told you about this. Now what are you going to do about it?'"
Partnering up with First Nations organizations, Syed founded Access 2 Clean Water, to raise awareness about the issue and funds to develop solutions. "I'm brand new to this, so I'm still learning how to approach these situations and how to be respectable so I don't overstep any boundaries."
Syed’s journey started in Vancouver and his goal is to reach Ontario in 150 days - marking the 150 years anniversary of Confederation. Given the tumultuous history between First Nations and the Federal Government, this journey represents the ongoing struggle in the era of reconciliation.
To support the project,, a Go Fund Me page has been set up and is almost halfway towards its goal. You can also follow Syed’s journey through the Access 2 Clean Water Instagram account which has photos and videos of the trek.